Bulgarian Dimova wins "Eastern European Literature Award"

  • BA-CA/UniCredit Group, KulturKontakt, and Wieser Verlag distribute first CEE literature award
  • Second ex aequo are Romanian Lazarescu and Czech Zonová

Her novel "Maikite" (The Mothers) has earned Bulgarian Teodora Dimova the "Eastern European Literature Award" which includes prize money of 7,500 Euro. Created in 2005 on the initiative of Bank Austria Creditanstalt (BA-CA), a member of UniCredit Group, the award is conferred for the first time this year in cooperation with KulturKontakt Austria and Wieser Publishing House. In future, the award will be distributed on a bi-annual basis. In the run-up, ten national juries evaluated some 500 works and selected 20 publications for nomination. An international jury chaired by Jiři Gruša, President of the international P.E.N. Club, finally chose the ten best authors and texts.

Born in Sofia in 1960, award winner Teodora Dimova has already published a number of books and plays. She has received several national literature awards and ranks as one of Bulgaria's up-and-coming writers. Coming in second were (ex aequo) Romanian writer Florin Lazarescu with his story "Trimisul nostru special" ("Our Special Correspondent") along with Czech Anna Zonová and her novel "Za trest a za odménu" ("As Punishment and as Reward"). In 2007, these three works will be available in Wieser Publishing House's bilingual book series "EditionZwei", which is published in cooperation with BA-CA and KulturKontakt Austria. The winner and Florin Lazarescu will be presented to the media and public at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair.

"Being the largest banking group in Eastern Europe, UniCredit Group does not only engage in economic cooperation but also actively sponsor cultural exchange with CEE countries. With this first international Eastern European literature award, we present the regions’ literary talents to a wider audience. We are proud to thus contribute to the growing together of Europe," says Erich Hampel, Chairman of BA-CA's Managing Board and member of the Management Committee of UniCreditGroup. Within UniCredit Group, BA-CA is responsible for handling business in Central and Eastern Europe.

Ranked fourth to tenth, respectively, the international jury has chosen the following authors: Boris Dežulovic/Croatia, Mirza Fehimović/Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tamás Jónás/Hungary, Márius Kopcsay/Slovakia, Srdan Valjarevic/Serbia, Maja Vidmar/Slovenia, and Mariusz Wilk/Poland. They will all receive a one-month scholarship visit in Vienna under the "Writers in Residence" program of KulturKontakt Austria. "With this invitation to Vienna, we intend to provide authors with an opportunity to get to know Austria from a different perspective and locally gain new inspiration for their literary work. We thus intend to initiate a stepped-up dialog between our countries", says Kurt Wagner, Director of KulturKontakt Austria. KulturKontakt is one of Austria's leading institutions in the field of cultural interchange between East and West.

By presenting the ten winning works and authors, the "Eastern European Literature Award" is the first initiative to offer a comprehensive summary of current literary activity in this region. "The aim behind this prize is to promote the works of Eastern European authors in the German-speaking world", says publisher and Eastern European literature specialist Lojze Wieser. "Thus, we intend to draw attention to the many literary voices of this region." Wieser publishers' book program is marked by a strong commitment to translating the texts of writers from Central and Eastern as well as Southeastern Europe. What's more, since 2002, its book series EditionZwei presents books by Eastern European authors both in German and their respective original language.

At the "Bulgaria Days in Vienna", which are organized by BA-CA in cooperation with the Bulgarian Embassy, award winner Teodora Dimova will join the presentation of the anthology "Young Theatre from Bulgaria", a collection featuring her play "Serpent's Milk". The presentation takes place at the Theater Drachengasse on 9 October  2006, at 8.000 pm. This event has been staged by KulturKontakt Austria; admission is free.

Bank Austria Creditanstalt is Austria's largest bank and as a member of UniCredit Group, it is responsible for business in Central and Eastern Europe. With its 3,000 branches in 18 countries and 17 million customers, UniCredit Group operates the largest banking network in CEE. www.ba-ca.com, www.unicreditgroup.eu

KulturKontakt Austria (KKA) ranks as one of Austria's largest competence centers for cultural education, cultural mediation, cultural dialog, and educational cooperation with Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. www.KulturKontakt.or.at 

Since its founding in 1987, Wieser Publishing House has focused on European literature and, above all, has specialized in Central and Eastern European authors. 250 of the 700 titles it has published so far are translations – chiefly from Eastern Europe. An additional 90 volumes have appeared in Slovenian. The 100 volumes of Wieser's "Europa erlesen" ("Reading Europe") series take readers on a journey to Europe's cities and regions. www.wieser-verlag.com

For further information please contact:

Bank Austria Creditanstalt, Public Relations
Katja Erlach, phone +43 (0) 5 05 05 56839,

Wieser Verlag
Lojze Wieser, phone +43 (0) 664 1802964

KulturKontakt Austria
Annemarie Türk, phone +43 (0) 523 87 65 44,